case studies/Be Kind To Pets pictures
Be Kind To Pets
A case study written in Oct 2001.
09 Nov 2007
THE PET TRANSPORT MAN WOULD NOT UNDER-PRICE HIS SERVICES
"We are not living in the Dark Ages," retorted kennel-operator Tan when
I asked him to board and nurse two rabbits at $10 per day for the next 7
The tall man his late sixties wrinkled his pale face and opened
his protruding eyes wide to tell me I was talking through my
hat. Was I in a fantasy world?
Mr Tan came to me to be a pet transport man. He had retired from the civil service
recently. No more tucking in his shirt and wearing
shoes. He was now free to dress casually and in
slippers. After all, a transport man need not
He bought an old van. He wanted to start a business of transporting pets to veterinary clinics and hospitals.
As he did not want to reveal the identity of his previous
employer nor any details of his family, I did not pester him. He had retired and wanted to
start a small pet transport business. He was from the old
school - polite and genuine. I would try to help senior
citizens who want to work, whenever possible.
I provided him a base in Toa Payoh Vets to rest. All my dog transport
business, grooming and after-care nursing would be done by him
without him paying any rental or utilities. He would pay
50% of his income related to Toa Payoh Vets' business,
if he had any.
I was willing to help a senior citizen to start a new
business even though I don't know him at all.
He was a free lancer and had his fees. However, the market seldom
could afford his fees as there was rampant undercutting
by newer and younger operators. His fees started
at $36 per day for the 2 rabbits.
What did he mean by the "Dark Ages?" I doubt many
internet generation people knew what he was talking
about unless they have had read European history or
stories. Knights in shining armour stories? Not
really such stories.
The Dark Ages, I
presumed he referred to, was the period in the history of Europe when very low
wages were paid. There was slave labour.
So, Mr Tan decidedly rejected the offer. He would have earned an income of $70 just by
feeding the rabbits and changing the newspapers in the
cage for 10 days.
That was all he needed to do. Assuming he
had to pay 50% of the gross income to Toa Payoh Vets, he would still be
netting $35. In Singapore, $35 might not mean much
money but in undeveloped countries, that could feed a
family for some weeks.
Now, what would be the solution for the veterinarian who
referred the cases to him?
New ones could be bought for $5.00 each in
2001. One of the rabbits was limping as his right back leg was fractured.
You could see its paws at 90 degrees to the rest of the limb. Other than
the fracture, there was a generalised skin infection. Microscopic Sarcoptic mange mites
proliferated inside the skin of the nose, paws and feet areas of the bigger and
Owner had treated the crustiness on the nose and paws with iodine and the
antiseptic Dettol, thinking they were caused by fighting. There was
no recovery. The rabbits ate only carrots and were very thin. The
diagnosis was rabbit sarcoptic mange and the cure was guaranteed to be
The easiest solution would be to inject with a lethal
solution and put the rabbits to sleep. The time spent in treating it would be better spent on other animals.
But the Owner was only willing to pay $10 per day for the rabbits to be treated for
the next 7 days. $70 was still money to feed a family a month in
some countries, but not for this kennel operator. It was not worth
Well, you have a limited amount of time per day and time is money. You
could not be doing charity. You could empathise with the kennel operator.
But there were
two lives involved. Their lives could be saved if the Owner needed not care for the
rabbits and could pay to have them treated at a reasonable
charge. There were two little children who loved these two rabbits too.
"I will look after them," said
Nurse Ann. It was not a time-consuming occupation. The
rabbits ate well and put on weight. The mites which multiplied and
bred on the skin surface, causing the thick crusts on the nose, paws, ears
and around the eyes had been killed by an anti-mite injection given to the
rabbits 8 days ago.
You could see the new pink skin on the nose and other
affected areas. The two children were most happy
to bring back two cured rabbits. If there were no
affordable alternatives for boarding to treat the two
rabbits, the owner would probably had the rabbits put
down as cost of nursing was high.
EDUCATION OF NEW HOUSING AGENTS
Secrets of success: Be a "win-win" realtor.
What has the story to do with you as a new associate realtor? Check
whether there was a win-win solution.
In the above case, there would be 2 outcomes for the Owner.
1. Lose-lose situation.
2. Win-win situation.
In the Lose-lose
situation, the rabbits are euthanased. This is not what the Owner
In the Win-win situation, the Owner boards the rabbits at lower kenneling
charges and brings home cured pets. The Owner will be happy and so
will be the veterinary staff who volunteers to nurse the rabbits.
What has this veterinary case has to do with you?
In many situations, you will encounter some problems of pricing.
Try to achieve a Win-win situation for your clients. Be
If you are starting up, you have to be flexible and if you want to be
successful in getting referrals, you will need to be creative to solve the
problems of your clients to close the case.
Building up a business may involve sacrifices of time and profits or
making losses in some cases.
The joy of the client in getting back 2 healthy rabbits is hard to
describe. But you can be sure that it will be good feelings towards
the person who does not mind charging less.
If you just focus on maximizing your agency commissions or profits, you
may not be able to build up your new business as you do not want to solve
the problems of the customer but are thinking of your own pockets.
You will unlikely get referral cases which will form the bulk of your
"What's in it for me" is more important for the prospective client and if
you can give what the prospect wants, you are on the right path to success
in any business as the customer is king and has many options and you have
days after one veterinary injection, the rabbits are cured of mite
infestation. Note that the crust and dry skin scales had fallen off
the nose, around the eyes, paws and ear edges and the skin is now the
normal pink colour with new hair growing soon. A win-win situation
for the Owner and the veterinary staff.
It would have been easier to put them to sleep with one lethal injection
but it meant a loss of 2 lives and sadness for all involved - a lose-lose
situation. Click thumbnail to see clearer view of the mite-free rabbits.
Emotions played a great part in a self-employed operator.
actually will cause you to lose money. Therefore, it may be best to reject
such cases. However, you must have more than sufficient financial
reserves to pay for your living expenses.
It is a very harsh world for a small business operator. There is no end to
under-pricing and unreasonable pricing demands from customers. Sometimes
it is best to be an employee for the security and peace of mind.
Update: In 2007, under-pricing in grooming and pet transport is much more
rampant as in many other services, including veterinary services.